How is Mental Illness Portrayed in the Media?

The mere presence of individuals dealing with mental health conditions on TV, in movies, and on popular social media accounts
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The mere presence of individuals dealing with mental health conditions on TV, in movies, and on popular social media accounts can be a revelation for some. Mental health was rarely discussed, especially in past generations. This awareness has truly helped many people discover alternative ways of treating their illnesses and feeling like they aren’t alone.

But not everything that creates good is done the right way. Media is a large market, and unfortunately, many people are exposed to unfair or inaccurate representations of how people with mental illnesses think, feel, or behave. Let’s look at the impact of mental illnesses in the media and how it can help you more accurately address your conditions.

Many Mental Health Stigmas Are Just Wrong

The media focuses on content that can draw eyes, and that sometimes means misrepresenting the impacts that an individual with a mental illness can have. Some common mental health stigmas in movies and television shows aren’t accurate portrayals of real life. Some of these stigmas and stereotypes include:

  • Mental illnesses don’t/can’t get better
  • Mental illnesses are unpredictable in nature
  • Mental illnesses lead to violent behaviors
  • Mental illnesses are just a “phase” for many teens

Many of these stigmas make it difficult for individuals with mental illnesses to get the help they need. It’s easy to imagine someone failing to find a quality borderline personality disorder outpatient program if they’re under the impression that things can’t get better. Creating the belief that a mental health disorder leads to violence or dangerous behaviors changes the way people view these individuals and can cut off access to certain forms of help.

One of the biggest media issues has been the idea that mental health problems for teens are just a “phase,” and media has reinforced those ideas in parents and children, leading to many complicated family relationships and worsening mental conditions.

Can Media Make a Positive Impact on Our Mental Health?

Media can also play a significantly positive role in our mental health and the impact we feel. The emergence of social media has been very impactful as it allows others to voice their feelings and concerns anonymously and feel more comfortable getting the right help.

Additionally, the media has helped promote healthy lifestyle choices. Apps like TikTok have given a platform for individuals to create appealing videos that draw people’s attention to more nourishing lifestyles and ways to improve their mental health. It has also given mental health and healthcare professionals a way to communicate with people they otherwise would have zero access to.

Today’s media can also be used to track the behaviors of individuals with mental illnesses to better formulate treatments and tips for improvement and growth. Recovery journeys can be extremely difficult, but certain apps can give people a way to communicate better with friends and family to keep relationships strong or provide meaningful distractions in life.

We all have experienced the phenomenon of hopping on a social media app, intending to be on it for five minutes, only to look up and notice an hour has gone by. While this might not be beneficial in every scenario, it can make a huge difference for individuals struggling with mental health conditions.

How to Address the Existing Problems

Addressing the problems is as simple as changing how we consume media and communicate with individuals about the impacts of mental health conditions. We should spend more of our time analyzing the purpose of why we create media and its adverse effects. Shows based around mental health conditions should better promote the importance of getting help or focusing more on realistic outcomes in their storylines.

In addition, mental health terminology should also be used accurately and clearly, as many of the terms used either don’t state the true impact of these conditions or are used for completely different purposes. With a renewed focus, media can continue to draw high numbers and entertain while positively impacting individuals dealing with mental health conditions.

Clearview Treatment Can Help Make Mental Health Conditions a Thing of the Past

The best way to get help is to make sure that it’s from experts in the mental health field. Fortunately, places like Clearview Treatment are specially designed to help people with various mental health conditions. We can help provide quality treatment for anything from bipolar disorders to eating disorders, and we even have codependency treatment programs to help restore relationships. Contact us today, and we’ll have a solution for you no matter what mental illness you’re dealing with. Call us at 866-339-3544 and receive the help you or a loved one needs.




If you’re ready to start your recovery, we’re here to help.

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